Serving Clients Throughout Upstate New York with Multiple Convenient Locations
Published on:

New York Court Discusses Grounds for Granting Summary Judgment in Car Accident Cases

Under New York law, drivers have a duty to be on the lookout for pedestrians. It is unfortunately not uncommon for a motorist to carelessly fail to uphold this duty and strike a pedestrian, however. Drivers that negligently collide with pedestrians can be held civilly liable, but they will often attempt to avoid fault. As shown in a recent opinion issued by a New York court, though, a defendant attempting to deny liability faces a high burden of proof. If you suffered harm due to a crash caused by a reckless driver, it is wise to talk to a Rochester personal injury attorney about what damages you may be owed.

Factual History of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff suffered injuries when she was hit by a car driven by the defendant when crossing a roadway. Five months later, she commenced a lawsuit against the defendant, in which she sought compensation for her losses. The sole count in her complaint was a negligence claim. Following discovery, the defendant moved for summary judgment. The court denied the defendant’s motion, and he appealed.

Grounds for Granting Summary Judgment in Car Crash Cases

On appeal, the court upheld the trial court’s ruling. The court clarified that a defendant that asks for summary judgment in their favor in a negligence action bears the burden of establishing that the evidence, on its face, demonstrates that they were not at fault in the occurrence of the subject accident.

Further, the court noted that a driver has a duty imposed by statute to use adequate care to avoid colliding with pedestrians on the roadway and a common law duty to observe that which they should have seen through the proper use of their senses.

In the subject case, the court found that the defendant failed to show, prima facie, that he did not bear any fault in the happening of the accident. Conversely, the evidence the defendant offered in support of his assertions demonstrated that triable issues of fact existed as to whether he failed to use due care to avoid striking the plaintiff.

The evidence he submitted included, among other things, a transcript of the plaintiff’s deposition testimony in which she explained that she was three-quarters of the way across the street before the accident occurred. It also included the defendant’s deposition testimony, in which he stated that he only saw the plaintiff for a split second before the impact. As such, the court found that the defendant failed to show that there were no triable issues of fact as to whether he contributed to the accident and that the trial court properly denied his motion for summary judgment.

Talk to a Trusted Rochester Personal Injury Lawyer

Car accidents involving pedestrians typically cause catastrophic losses, and drivers that cause such collisions should be held accountable. If you were hurt in a car crash, it is in your best interest to meet with an attorney to assess your options for seeking compensation. The trusted Rochester lawyers of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can inform you of your rights and aid you in pursuing the best legal outcome possible under the facts of your case. You can contact us through our online form or by calling us at 585-653-7343 to set up a meeting.

Justia Lawyer Rating
Contact Information